Viola Davis, Fences
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea
Any other year Michelle Williams would have won the Oscar. Williams only has four scenes in the movie after all, and gives a heartbreaking performance as the ex-wife of Casey Affleck’s character in Manchester by the Sea. She matches and reflects the pain of the lead actor and elevates his performance, which is the true job of any supporting actor. Not only that, but she's been nominated three other times so some might say she is due, but it doesn't look like it was meant to be.
Who Will Win: That is because the award for supporting actress is the biggest lock of the night. Viola Davis is 100% guaranteed to win this award, and she's deserving of an Oscar, but she should be in the lead performance category. She has just as much screen time and importance to the story as her co-star Denzel Washington. However, nominees are allowed to pick which category they compete in. You could argue that Fences revolves solely around her husband's character, Troy and that is why she considers herself a supporting actress. But the bigger reason for this decision may have been due to her 2008 loss for Doubt and her 2011 loss for The Help. It's possible she got in her own head and thought she wouldn't be able to win Best Actress.
Who Should Win: Not only did Viola Davis give a better performance than any of her female counterparts competing in the lead category, she may have given the best performance of the year. Davis was amazing in this movie and she's had an amazing career so far. This Oscar is a long time coming.
Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Ruth Negga, Loving
Natalie Portman, Jackie
Emma Stone, La La Land
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins
With Viola Davis not competing as a best actress, who is going to win the big award? The best actress category is filled with nuanced performances such as the one from Ruth Negga in Loving. Even Natalie Portman's performance in Jackie is softer performance than the category is used to, despite the notorious Boston accent she has to put on. So all the sudden the competition comes down to Emma Stone and Isabella Huppert for Best Actress. (I'm not really considering Meryl Streep because yes she is good, but do we really have to nominate her every time she stars in a movie?)
My problem is it is currently impossible to see Elle. Unless you're living in New York City or LA, or happened to catch it the one week it was in theaters. I tried and I couldn't do it. I guess it's tough to get the local theaters to play a French foreign movie about a rape victim when they could just add another Lego Batman screening. So if I have to go with a performance I’ve seen, I guess I'm going with Emma Stone. I don't feel bad about the decision. She is great in La La Land and has cleaned up at the other award shows, winning at the SAGs, BAFTA, and the Golden Globes. It just would’ve been nice to see all the contenders.
Who Will Win: Emma Stone
Who Should Win: Emma Stone?
Wednesday we’ll take a look at the five men up for best directing.